Add Sasse to the Senate’s Tea Party
The U.S. Senate’s Tea Party caucus will soon get a lot of Sasse.
Ben Sasse, that is.
Last night the 42 year old president of Midland University won the Nebraska GOP’s U.S. Senate primary election with 48 percent of the vote in a four-way race.
In deep-red Nebraska, Sasse is expected to win the November general election easily, and take his persona as a conservative health policy wonk with him.
Running hard against ObamaCare, Sasse convinced Republican primary voters that his background in health policy (Assistant Secretary at HHS under George W. Bush), his stint as a top flight business consultant for McKinsey and his turnaround success at Midland qualify him to work alongside the likes of other conservative reformers like Mike Lee of Utah, Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
And like most of these, Sasse has ruffled some establishment feathers along the way. He angered Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky by accepting the endorsement and financial support of the Senate Conservatives Fund – a political action group that is helping McConnell’s primary opponent.
Winning changes everything though. Yesterday as it became apparent Sasse would win, he pledged to support McConnell as Leader, and McConnell’s camp reciprocated with some mostly nice words of encouragement.
If both Sasse and McConnell make it to the Senate in 2015, expect them to work well together.
For those unfamiliar with Sasse, a profile some months ago in the Weekly Standard provides excellent background reading.
Even if Sasse wins and retains Nebraska’s seat for the GOP, Republicans still need to capture 6 Democrat-held seats to win control of the U.S. Senate.
If that happens, expect Sasse to be the most visible and vocal freshman since, well, his soon-to-be Senate Tea Party colleagues.